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Archive for May, 2004


29 May, 2004 at 3:03 pm by belgianwaffle

I remember the first time I realised that people had different accents: I was about 8 or 9 and on a family holiday in England. I had to get a new pair of shoes.  The lady in the shop was very nice and as we completed our purchase she said “Now, I hope that you will enjoy wearing those at home in Ireland”.  I was astonished and said “how did you know I was Irish?”. There was general laughter.  I was baffled. What was so funny about that?

This thought occurs as it struck me this morning that when she grows up the Princess will have a Dublin accent. I suppose it could be worse.

Anyway, tomorrow we’re off to Dublin for the week to work on her accent so there will probably be no blogging until June 6 when we get back.

Have a good week.


on 29 May 2004 at 17:22

Enjoy Dublin – Icon of the New Ireland 🙂


on 29 May 2004 at 19:46

Have a nice break – though I really hope you can fight off the Dublin accent – send her to your parents every summer or something. Poor kid.



on 31 May 2004 at 16:49

Enjoy your stay.
Take care !


on 02 June 2004 at 15:17

I’ve got a real ‘thing’ about this. I do not want Ezra to speak with a south london accent. I am a yorkshire lass and I think Ez should get himself a good strong yorkie brogue.
Have a great time in Dublin x


on 03 June 2004 at 14:39

have a wonderful time


on 07 June 2004 at 16:07

Thank you, thank you. Had a lovely time. A rather boring account has been posted. Have you noticed the way that the more fun you have the less interesting it is to write about.

LRB personals

28 May, 2004 at 12:29 pm by belgianwaffle

They just keep coming.  Fortnightly.  This fortnight’s offering:

“Had an accident at work that wasn’t your fault?  My god I love you.  Junior lawyer (M, 62) seeks winnable case/easy sex.  Box no. 10/13”


on 29 May 2004 at 09:04

Hard to know. I tried to look at your site but it’s too hard to read in that blue on that backgrd (moan, groan, grizzle, whinge). Do something for the elderly, change your colour scheme. V. much liked your “if you can read this, it must be downloading v. slowly” thing.

The sea, the sea

28 May, 2004 at 8:32 am by belgianwaffle

We went to Knokke yesterday with the Glam Potter and baby L.  Though it was overcast in Brussels, it was relatively fine on the coast.  The Princess doesn’t “think much of the ocean, the waves they was fiddly and small” and also rather cold.  However, she did consent to dip a small toe very briefly in the North Sea.  The beach was another matter and she played happily with baby L’s bucket and spade while L made a run for the main road nearby.

Knokke is a funny place.  The Belgian coast is rather unbeautiful. High rise towers gazing out on a chilly grey sea.  But they love it.  And the coast is really expensive.  A flat in one of those towers could set you back the same amount as a flat in Dublin.  In Ranelagh.  And Knokke is full of very rich Belgians. I heard a news item on the radio that the local council in Knokke has banned helicopters from the area.  Apparently, so many residents had helipads the area was becoming very noisy and it was losing its cachet.  Odd.

Still, it was lovely to be by the sea.  Maybe, when I win the lottery, we will be able to put a deposit on a small flat near Ostend.


on 28 May 2004 at 12:17

Nah, couldn’t afford that really..

Questions I never thought I’d ask

26 May, 2004 at 8:38 am by belgianwaffle

We’re going to IKEA this afternoon, is there anything we need other than a nailbrush?


jackdaltonon 26 May 2004 at 23:59

So go on, tell us what you bought….

belgianwaffleon 27 May 2004 at 08:53

Bought nothing essentially (note the cunning use of the word essentially). And no am too tired to be a loofah person. And even though they have featured in my past, I have always felt that they were kind of useless. I mean, it’s not like your back gets particularly grubby.

Locoteson 27 May 2004 at 12:27

So ‘essentially’ is probably 6 different pieces of furniture – you’re well on your way to being the latest to turn their house into an IKEA shrine.
Can’t say I see the point in loofah’s myself – I’ve actually found them highly uncomfortable any time I’ve experimented – I like the skin on my back where it is thanks very much! Needless to say my back is highly ungrubby anyway…

belgianwaffleon 27 May 2004 at 20:06

Not 6 pieces of furniture, no…

jackdaltonon 27 May 2004 at 21:30

Not 6, no…. See, a natural cutehoor answer!!! Politicin’ is totally in the blood, even when you take the Corkonian out of her natural surroundings and implement an IKEA programme and hide the car keys… 😉
[Do you go much to central brussels by the way?]

belgianwaffleon 28 May 2004 at 08:22

No am staying out of the centre of town, it’s clearly dangerous and inimical to my key retaining strategy.

jackdaltonon 28 May 2004 at 10:27

Shame… wanter to offer to buy you a coffee next week. 🙁

belgianwaffleon 28 May 2004 at 12:17

Are you really in Bxls next week? Mild shame as I am in Dublin!

Locoteson 28 May 2004 at 17:45

Indeed a cagey answer. I’d be proud if it wasn’t being used to fob off a fellow Corkonian!I note as well that Mr. D is offering drinks to Mr. Waffle’s better half now – so even the bonds of marriage aren’t sacred to him!

jackdaltonon 28 May 2004 at 20:54

It would seem so… Wednesday over till Thursday afternoon / evening. Ah well, such is the way of the world…. maybe someother time.
And just for the record, Locotes, the coffee offer extends equally to MrW – blogsub extraordinaire. But the pink bear goes back into hibernation until some other opportunity presents…

belgianwaffleon 29 May 2004 at 14:53

Locotes, in the matter of rash extravagance, I have to fend off queries from all quarters. Jack, have conveyed news of the pink bear to the Princess and she is gutted. Alas, maybe next time?

First world joys and woes

24 May, 2004 at 4:21 pm by belgianwaffle

On Friday, Mr Waffle recovered from his life threatening sore throat and we went to Beloeil. It was lovely. We had the place to ourselves and the Princess could crawl at will over the Aubusson carpets. She also made a spirited effort to crawl into a number of the water features in the extensive grounds. In a further burst of energy, Saturday saw us heading off to Lille. We had a lovely lunch where the Princess was surrounded by adoring waitresses who entertained her, heated her lunch and ran down the street after her with the various soft toys which she had left strewn on their restaurant floor. After this excitement she, very obligingly, fell asleep allowing her parents an opportunity to admire the glories of Lille in peace. And finally, just as we reached our car it started to rain, having been beautifully fine up to then. Two perfect days- it just couldn’t last.

Saturday night we bought tickets for a lateish cinema showing and went to dinner. The film started at 9.40 and we only arrived at 9.45. The ever punctual (except when he’s with me) Mr. Waffle was tense. “Don’t worry, we’ll only miss trailers” I said. The film had started. It was the new Almodovar flick. We knew we were in the right film because there were Spanish speaking transvestites on screen. But the reviews I had read said it was about catholic schoolboys. Confusing. It was good but hard to follow. Obviously missing the first five minutes had made all the difference. After half an hour, it ended. I whispered to Mr. Waffle “see, I was right, it hadn’t started, that was obviously a short”. “Well then why is everyone leaving?” he hissed. It appears that we had inadvertently bought tickets for the 8.20 showing and when we arrived at 9.40 the idiot usher had sent us to that rather than the later showing. Suggestions that there are other idiots involved are unhelpful at this juncture. So, here we were. I was all gung ho to go to the 9.40 version but Mr. Waffle wouldn’t go “we’ve missed the first half hour, we’ve seen the last half hour and I’m not going for the half hour in the middle.” I seethed with impotent rage but I was forced to concede that he had a point.

We arrived home and I was still seething. It was my turn to drive the babysitter home and her innocent question as to how we enjoyed the film was met with a full description of our woes. When I had finished, I drew breath and asked how things were with her.

“Not so good. I was supposed to go to the Philippines for a month in June but now two of my employers won’t give me time off”

She is a middle aged lady with a husband and two teenage children in the Philippines. She works for three different families in Brussels and has been here 18 years. She has only seen her children once or twice a year since they were small. She hasn’t been home since Christmas.

“That’s terrible” I said.

“Yes,” she said “and it’s my 50th birthday on June 6 and my 25th wedding anniversary on June 24th and we had lots of things planned. I have to ring my husband tomorrow to tell him I can’t come.”

“Could he come to visit you here?”

“No, he can’t get a visa.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“This is my life.”

I came home to a sleeping husband and baby a chastened woman. Lucky me.

mamothingson 24 May 2004 at 22:44

That happens to immigrants the world over I suppose. A recent case of nanny-abuse is hitting the headlines over here. What a life!

jackdaltonon 25 May 2004 at 01:28

Know what you mean, ‘waffle…Is trom cearc i bhfad… 😉

belgianwaffleon 25 May 2004 at 21:22

On the missed film front, I thought you might like to know that “Lost in Translation” has finally come out on video.

Illness continues to stalk my household

21 May, 2004 at 11:43 am by belgianwaffle

You know the way yesterday’s entry disappeared, well here’s my loving spouse’s approximation of my style, because I couldn’t face retyping:”Disaster has struck. Mr Waffle, who was perfectly able to go to work yesterday, has decided to come down with an illness. Not a macho stop-you-in-your-tracks illness but a “sore throat” if you please. This emerged last night. To be fair to him (reluctant though I am to do so) he was tossing and turning all night and does appear to be in some pain. Today we cancelled the hotel and I spent virtually all day with the Princess while Mr Waffle recuperated.

The morning was somewhat trying. Today is Ascension Thursday, as the more God-fearing of my readers will know. I decided to combine several good deeds and go to Mass with the Princess, leaving Mr Waffle to nap at home. As the Princess wakes up at 6.30 we had no problem getting up early, and 9.30 saw us in front of my favourite church, the Notre Dame au Sablon. Inconveniently, the House of God was closed. Apparently they preparing for a special Mass for the Guild of Archers (Brussels has a lot of these odd guilds. Who joins the Guild of Archers these days ?)”

He got a bit tired of it after this, so you may never know what happened next, but you may award his text marks out of ten, should you so wish.

mamothingson 24 May 2004 at 08:24Fascinating. Ascension Day is barely recognised in Pagan Britain these days. Shame.
Angela(Homepage)on 24 May 2004 at 13:53

I would award several points for his ability to write in your clever style, but I fear that awarding him too many points might make you hesitant to return.
So, zero points. Zero!
I hope this message finds you all quite healthy and relaxed.

belgianwaffleon 24 May 2004 at 14:21OK Jack, MUCH too enthusiastic. He will be pleased though. However, Angela, you’ve got the right idea – zero points is the answer I was looking for.
Brightfield, Ireland is pagan as well, which let’s face it is much more shocking. Without wanting to sound really ancient, I think that we used to get a day off when I was in school but I suspect now they just labour on… poor little things.

And what can we do for you, Madam?

19 May, 2004 at 10:39 pm by belgianwaffle

As you know, this is a bank holiday weekend in Belgium and to celebrate this we are going away tomorrow night. Yes, Thursday night only. Try to keep up. Yesterday, I began to wonder what we would do in our château, so I called the châtelaine.

Me: Hello, we’ve reserved a room for Thursday night…

Ch.: Yes. You know you can only arrive after 6.30.

Me: Yes, I know this.

Ch.: And we don’t take credit cards.

Me: Yes.

Ch.: And you have to check out by 11.00.

Me: Yes. Um, I was just wondering whether we could book in for dinner on Thursday night.

Ch.: We don’t do dinner.

(Why advertise two dining rooms on your website then?)

Me: Oh, I see, well could you recommend a babysitter.

Ch.: No.  Are you bringing a baby?

Me: Yes (and we told her this when making the booking, so I don’t know why she sounded so appalled, maybe she’d repressed the memory).

Ch.: Well, you’d better have all the equipment for it, because we certainly won’t be able to accommodate it.

Me: Ok, fine.

Hmm. The Princess goes to bed at 7.30 – 8.00 and she likes it to be dark. Are we going to spend our night away sitting silently in a dimly lit room?  Apparently.  Do you think we would be able to order Chinese to the château or should I bring sandwiches?

And Mr. Waffle came home this evening with a cold.

I am feeling very positive about this.



on 20 May 2004 at 00:21

Jeff and I went out of town last weekend, and when MC went to bed at 8, we were also forced into going to bed at 8.
Oh, we *tried* to watch Harry Potter on the television, but the flickering light kept stirring our wee one, so we were forced to turn it off.
And sit in dark silence.
And as we sat, I wondered if I would have any luck sticking tiny earplugs into MC’s ears. Also, one of those sleeping masks in a tiny tiny size…
Good luck to you!


on 20 May 2004 at 17:50

I had not seen such customer focus in a long time. Very funny.


on 20 May 2004 at 19:10

Jack, I am touched by your enthusiasm. Angela, for all the wrong reasons, tiny earplugs are unnecessary. Stroppy, we may never know what she is like in the flesh.


on 20 May 2004 at 19:54

Yes, but I love all that stuff about Waffle-generated chaos — half-brains and keys and change…..


on 24 May 2004 at 14:41

Jack, suddenly I am less keen on your enthusiasm and slightly reluctant to blog on my unfortunate w/end cinema experience but, deep breath, am sure that it won’t at all confirm your views as outlined above. No, really.

LRB personals

19 May, 2004 at 3:39 pm by belgianwaffle

And this week’s winner from the personal ads is:

“Don’t reply to this ad. There isn’t enough of me for you all, and it can only end in heartbreak. Gorgeous, well-educated, well-hung man (35) waiting here for all the pretty ladies to 25 to tango into bed with me. All you have to do is get through this bald, gnomic, flatulent 67 year old exterior and the night will be ours. No refunds. Box no.09/07”

In fact, there are a range of excellent candidates but I can’t be bothered retyping the longer ones. You’d think that they’d restrain themselves as it’s 70p per word, but no.

I offer this short one as well:

“Please send me money. And pictures of yourself naked. And cigarettes. Lifer. Box no. 09/08.”

This edition also contains a piece on Israeli-Palestinian relations by Ilan Pappe who is the head of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestine Studies in Israel. Now, there’s a challenging position.

Noi Albinoi

18 May, 2004 at 4:04 pm by belgianwaffle

This Icelandic film is described as bleakly funny.  It is not bleakly funny, it is bleakly bleak.  Most of the film is spent establishing how bored and miserable our hero is. The director masterfully conveys just how little there is to do in a small town in Iceland in Winter. The five minute shot of a fly climbing up a wall is a highlight here. The film ends with all of the characters who have speaking parts (other than our hero) being wiped out by an avalanche. Fun stuff.


17 May, 2004 at 3:10 pm by belgianwaffle

I was just about to finish a really excellent entry, no truly, when I lost it all by going to check on Google whether the Czech foreign minister really is Polish or whether they were just laughing at me at the party on Saturday night.  I’m not sure whether I have the heart to start again. And I still don’t know whether the Czech foreign minister is Polish.

To summarise. Went out Friday night to Glam Potter’s where she had foregathered a selection of her glam friends and me. Prize for glamness goes to the girl who’s just managed to get herself seconded to Miami for work. On full pay. To do research. Plus a per diem allowance. She wants us to know that she also applied for Pittsburgh. Second prize for glamness goes to the GP herself who launched into an anecdote as follows, “when I lived in Miami, I had this convertible…”

Saturday saw myself and the Princess loyally supporting Mr. Waffle and his team in their attempt to win a work tournament. They lost. They must continue losing for a number of weekends before they can stop. Let’s hope the weather stays fine.

Saturday night myself and Mr. Waffle went to a party upstairs. The Anglo-Czech couple on the top floor sent everyone in the building notes inviting us to come and asking us to let them know, if they made too much noise. Since they are the only people in the building who make no noise, this was particularly endearing. We got an oral invitation as well, because I feed their cats when they are away. I thought the cats were named after a flying beast and a fast train respectively but my sister-in-law the publishing exec tells me that they are in fact called after 16th century English choral composers (and a small prize is available if you can tell me their names based on these hints alone). Despite the undoubted pretension of their cat naming policy, they are very pleasant, so we were happy to trip along on Saturday night. It also gave us a chance to see what they had done with that awkard space behind the sofa (bookshelves, since you ask, but, you know, I feel, behind the sofa is a bit unsatisfactory for bookshelves).

Everyone at the party was either English or Czech. There was also a three week old baby who was both. There are a lot more Anglo-Czech couples out there than you might think. I now know a lot more about the Czech republic than I did last week. I offer you the following:

Women from Prague are very pretty;

The same cannot be said for the men;

Czech women get a year’s maternity leave on 70% pay and up to three years in total. During that time, they do not leave their children. At all. I was an object of wonder because my baby was downstairs with a babysitter – Fluid Pudding, there is a nation out there that relates to you;

Ostrova is the third city and good for mining and clubbing. People from Prague do not go to Ostrova and laugh uproariously at the suggestion that they might. I tested this theory on the sample available to me and it seems to be true. Comparisons between Cork and Ostrova are unhelpful and unworthy, now obviously, if someone were to compare Limerick to Ostrova, we might be getting somewhere;

John Kerry is Czech.

Their foreign minister may be Polish.

They’re a friendly bunch the Czechs.

On Sunday we finally tried to book something for next weekend. It’s a four day weekend (if you’re American, you should know that in May, Europeans hardly bother working at all) and the thought of spending all of it in Brussels was unappealing. Obviously, we are not the only people who think this because everywhere is fully booked. We finally got a room in a chateau near Lille for Thursday night. That’s it. I have determined that to prolong the holiday spirit through the w/end we will get a babysitter on Saturday night and go to see Troy. If you feel that this is a terribly bad idea, please tell me and make a better recommendation. Note, however, that you are speaking to a woman who intends to watch “Noi Albinoi” on DVD tonight. Yes, that’s right an Icelandic film. Hmm.


on 19 May 2004 at 09:14

Entirely correct. You are a brilliant Belgian with a bizarre knowledge of English choral composers. As prize, I will tell you that the other one is Byrd.


on 19 May 2004 at 12:42

In fact, I just had to goggle a little bit ! (?_-)



on 19 May 2004 at 14:43

They have a cat named Byrd? That’s funny!


on 19 May 2004 at 15:27

Renee, this aspect of matters had not occurred to me until now. As you observe, it is funny.
Thierry, am impressed by your googling though your reputation in the field of English choral composers is now in freefall.


13 May, 2004 at 11:29 pm by belgianwaffle

I got an application form for a job with a UK public body in Brussels. The application form came with a further form which I was asked to fill in. I was assured that the form (the latter form, do try to keep up) would be kept confidential. It was for the purpose of monitoring the recruitment process only. Question 4 was as follows

Ethnic Origin

White 1

Irish 2

Black African 3

Black Carribean 4

Black other (please specify) 5

Indian 6

Pakistani 7

Bangladeshi 8

Chinese 9

Yes, obviously, my ethnic origin is Irish, but I am Irish. I appreciate that it’s for UK domestic use, but it is a little odd. And is the order of ethnicity relevant? Why is white first? Is it because there are more white people than anyone else? Does this mean that after white people the second largest ethnic group in the UK is Irish people – possible I suppose. Very strange. I suppose that it is done with the best possible motives.

And another thing, why do people assume older people need extra special advice – there was a feature on this on the radio. Someone was in saying they should be specially warned that people giving investment advice in banks are tied to the banks. They’re old, they’re not stupid. My father, who is, of course, not old as such, but certainly older, could buy and sell me and had to eventually give up in despair after many vain attempts to explain to me what exactly p/e ratio means. I remember when e-voting was piloted in the last election, a reporter descended on an ancient nun asking gleefully whether she’d had any difficulty casting her vote. She replied scornfully “of course not, it’s simple, sure a child of six could do it.” Good woman.

And finally, do check out the link to Everquest on Jack Dalton‘s post. Outstanding.

Cough cough

12 May, 2004 at 12:10 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess has a cough. She woke up last night at 11.00 coughing. She refused to go back to bed and stayed in my arms dozing and coughing until 1.30 when she finally agreed that it was probably time to consider going back to her own bed. She woke again at 5.00. She was convinced that it was morning.  It was bright and she was ready to party. Tried to put her back to bed but she roared. Soft hearted Mr. Waffle said “bring her into our bed”. She was delighted, she waved and clapped her hands. She practised her new found standing skills using her parents’ prone bodies as climbing frames. She stuck her fingers up her father’s nose, repeatedly. This is an exciting new game which gets an excellent reaction. Picture the scene, her Daddy is drifting off to sleep, his defences are down, a small digit is thrust up his nose accompanied by the sound of a manic chuckle.

At 7.00, I decided that there really was no chance that she would go back to sleep and she and I got up. There are few things more fun than Dr. Seuss at 7.00 in the morning. “Mr. Brown can moo, can you?” At 8.00 Mr. Waffle appeared. A very flat Waffle. At 8.15 her imperial highness said “Minion, I am tired bring me to the royal cot”. It is now 12.00 and she is sleeping still. Is there a sign of a cough out of her?  No, there is not.

After she went back to sleep, Mr. Waffle and I chatted.

“I’m very glad that I got the new soap dish in the bathroom, now that we have two…”

Mr. Waffle lifted his head from the table where he had been resting it between mouthfuls of cereal and interrupted my fascinating discourse on soap dishes “What are you wearing?”

“My dressing gown”

“It’s got porridge encrusted on it”

“Well, you know, I wear it when I give her her breakfast.”  I peered at the offending garment. I sniffed it. “I think it’s also faintly smelly, want to smell?”

“No, I do not. Oh my God, what have we become? There’s a word for it. Oh yes, parents”

I have decided that it’s time my dressing gown went in the wash.

A long distance call for you

11 May, 2004 at 3:49 pm by belgianwaffle

The phone bill has arrived.  Somebody was on to Djibouti for 7 seconds at 10.30 on April 8.  I don’t know about you, but I suspect that the Princess has contacts in distant lands.  That child will have to be kept away from the phone or we will be beggared.  I suspect we are looking at the beginning of a long term problem here.

If you live in Djibouti and on April 8 had to get out of bed to answer a caller who hung up immediately, sorry about that.

“The Amateur Marriage” by Anne Tyler

11 May, 2004 at 3:14 pm by belgianwaffle

Just finished this. Very good. Took a while to get into but worth the effort. It had been sitting on my bedside table for some time saying “I’m a hardback and a birthday present, are you ever going to read me?”Am now looking at the remainder of my bedside pile with some alarm; it is somewhat worthy. Which of the following should I tackle:

“The Bridge over the Drina” by Ivo Andric

“Le Bébé” by Marie Darrieussecq (in French please note, a pressie from the French mama)

“The Blindfold” by Siri Hustvedt (I know that I thought that “What I loved” was brilliant but this is from her back catalogue, suppose it’s disappointing)

“No Vague Utopia” by Emily Cullen (a book of poetry, ok maybe not for reading cover to cover at a sitting).

“Guns, germs and steel” by Jared Diamond (this is very good, but you need to stick with it and every time I get about 100 pages in I abandon for a couple of months and have to start all over again and, to be honest, I’m getting a little tired of the first 100 pages.)

Maybe I’ll just leave them all fester a little longer and reread “Pride and Prejudice”.

Wow, Jack, two minds with but a single thought between them (conveys, I feel a subtle difference to two minds with but a single thought), see my comment in your Cher thingy. Might buy Shade but as discussed am a little dubious. Thing it might end up stockpiled.
on 11 May 2004 at 15:29

Eh? 15 what? 0
Sweetie(s) given ���


on 11 May 2004 at 15:31

Andy Warholics….
God, some people don’t even read their own postings…
😛 0 Sweetie(s) given


on 11 May 2004 at 15:39

Well, I’m a busy person. I see, Andy Warhol, 15 mins etc. Yes, please do be one of my 15 people. I don’t think that I’ve actually made it to 15 yet so you’re getting in on the ground floor. Furthermore, I think that you are the ONLY person who reads this part of my weblog and, as such, you certainly deserve to be one of my 15.. 0
Sweetie(s) given

on 11 May 2004 at 15:45

Ahh, you’re nice.
You confused me, by the way. That was my Guts & Tripe posting, not my Cher one… 0
Sweetie(s) given


on 11 May 2004 at 15:52

Oh dear, well, there you go, as discussed previously, motherhood melts the mind, speaking of which, I should log off and bond with my baby.

Further car parking difficulties

7 May, 2004 at 4:19 pm by belgianwaffle

I ran into trouble in the car park again.  I don’t think I should be allowed to park downtown on my own any more.  I lost my ticket. I rang for someone to come and help me. I pushed the button at the entrance to the car park. I pushed the button at the car park exit. I pushed the button on the pay machine. The car park rang with ringing noises but no one appeared. I kicked the pay machine. An attendant came hurrying up. Oh dear.  I explained that I had lost my ticket.

“It’s going to cost you lady”.

“Yes I know”

“Are you sure that it’s not in your bag?”

(Was that question idiot proofed?).

“Eh, yes.  Can I pay by visa, debit card…”

“Ah no, cash only”

Of course, back up to the shopping centre. Queue for cash.  Back down to the basement car park. Does your man have change? No, of course, not.  Back up to shopping centre, get change. Fill in long form giving my name, id card no., car reg, make and model and swearing that this is not a scam. Am free to go.  Blah.

Round at Glam Potter’s yesterday. She had had a difficult day. She had gone to IKEA to pick up a shoe baby L had lost there earlier in the week. As IKEA is planned so that once you’re in you have to see everything, she did a tour of the shop and bought some 99 cent chopsticks. She said that she felt a little odd in the queue as other people bought large items of furniture. Anyhow, on the way home, she ventured into the Brico to get wood to make bedheads (honestly, does that woman not have enough to do, she is disastrously creative).  She asked the man at the check out to help her put the wood in her car. He said no, maybe his colleague would help when he returned from his break. Baby L felt that this was bad news and began to wail and continued to do so until the colleague came back from his break. Then she redoubled her efforts.  The GP drove her car to the door and with the help of the Brico man started to load up her car. A random punter turned up with a trolley (please insert soundtrack of wailing child as background to the following dialogue)

“Please move your car” he said.

“I will, just as soon as I’ve loaded this up”

“Please move your car”

“I’m just going to finish loading this, or, you know, you could walk round the car”

(At this stage, sensing confrontation, the Brico man sidles off).

Conversation which has been in French up to now, starts being conducted in English.

“Your car is in my way”

“Yes, I know, I’m just finishing…”

“I will shoot your car, if you don’t move it”

“You’ll shoot my car, will you? With what?”

At this the man begins to ram our heroine’s car with his trolley. She hastily stuffs in the remainder of the wood and drives off with baby L still roaring. Very traumatic.

And finally, may I recommend that you check out Fluid Pudding for an excellent haiku on breastfeeding and mother’s day.



on 08 May 2004 at 00:52

New visitor to your site.
My dealings with Belgians are limited but I find that saying the words “Phillipe Albert” usually swings things in my favour.
Try it next time.
You never know.


on 11 May 2004 at 15:18

Ok, BykerSink, am willing to give it a go. Will let you know results. Do you think it works in Flanders too or only in Wallonia?
Jack, someday you will have to load a car with a small child wailing inside and these flippant words will return to haunt you…


on 11 May 2004 at 15:28

Somethings are only ever understood from the inside…
[Pity there’s not a smiley to indicate playfully ironic comment from one who knows…]

Reasons to suspect I am losing my mind

5 May, 2004 at 9:52 am by belgianwaffle

1. The other day, I parked in an underground car park. I extracted her highness, I locked the car and opened the boot. I took out her pushchair, strapped her in, attached the string bag, grabbed the rucksack and double checked that I had my keys in my pocket before closing the boot. You see, I am cunning, I have often worried that it is easy to lock my keys in the boot and that, frankly, would be disastrous. My keys were not in my pocket. I checked the string bag. No. I checked under the car. No. I double checked my handbag. No. Not in any of my four pockets. I took the Princess out of her pushchair and checked whether she was sitting on the keys. No. I put her sitting in the boot and checked around her. I took out everything in the boot. No. I double checked my pockets. No. I emptied out the nappy bag. No. This was ridiculous. I had used the keys minutes ago (about 15 minutes ago at this stage) to lock the car door. Could I have left them in the door? Could somebody have come and taken them while I was getting the pushchair out of the boot? That was the only explanation. You know, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” or words to that effect. I decided that I had better ring my loving spouse to get him to come and rescue us, bringing his car keys. I went to the car park entrance to get a signal, carefully keeping the car in view lest the scam artist should come up and try to drive it away. There was, of course, no one in the reception area which boasted a number of cameras. A pity, if there had been, I would have asked them to replay so that I could see the person who had stolen our car keys. I rang my husband and started to explain what had happened. “Um” he said “the keys wouldn’t be in the lock of the boot, you know, it would be up in the air and you wouldn’t see them.” Yes, that’s where they were.

2. On Monday morning, a friend of Mr. Waffle’s was in Brussels and, since I’m not working, I invited her round for coffee. While she was here, a friend of mine telephoned. Conversation was as follows:

Me: Hi, I can’t actually talk, there’s a person here, sorry not a person, a friend, well, not a friend of mine, a friend of Mr. Waffle’s, well, sorry a friend of mine too, but not as good a friend of mine as of his.

(Friend person – Um, I’ll just go to the bathroom).

Me: Oh well, she’s going to the bathroom so we can chat for hours, well, not hours, obviously, but minutes, well, a while, anyway.

Friend person sidles out of the room nervously.

3. Yesterday afternoon, I dried all my liquits with a teatowel. Liquits are these little plastic sacs of washing liquid that dissolve in water. You shove them in with your washing and hey presto the plasticky stuff dissolves away in the wash and your wash comes out clean. I suspect, they are almost certainly as damaging to the environment as SUVs. I don’t care. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a design flaw, like superheros, their greatest strength contains the seeds of their destruction, they dissolve in water. I keep them under the sink. So some water dropped in on them. And they started to dissolve. So I took them all out and dried them lovingly with a teatowel to preserve them. Even as I was doing this, I wondered “should I be safely in an institution?”

Completely unrelated point, if you are Irish and haven’t heard it, have a listen to this http://www.rte.ie/radio1/morning/morningireland/. Click on audio for today Wednesday (don’t know if they archive, so hurry) and listen at about 8.30. Cathal Mac Coille (who I normally loath) does an outstanding job interviewing Beverly Flynn.


on 06 May 2004 at 03:29

I fear you are indeed losing your mind. At the same time, I am no psychologist or other brain-expert-type-person, so don’t take my word for it. I prefer to stay honest instead of worrying you unnecessarily about brain-shrinkage.(I actually typed that as brian-shrinkage first – which is a whole other matter. Brian is embarrassed about the whole thing, but is consulting his doctor at the moment. God willing, the problem will soon be solved through a strict regimen of tablets and massage therepy.)


on 06 May 2004 at 11:04

Locotes couldn’t even spell honest without a spell checker, so ignore his jibe…
Kambuchi is also said to be good. Or fortified wine. Or failing that, vodka straight from the bottle…
[Only kidding about the vodka: do not try this at home, whether in the company of Mr W’s old flames or not.]


on 06 May 2004 at 14:28

Now that’s harsh. Everyone know’s I’m one of the most honesht…hunest….honnets….ahem…. people around.This coming from the guy trying to turn a married woman with child into an alocholic. You’re doing that on enough other blogs surely…


on 06 May 2004 at 15:49

Hello there lads, had another lost keys incident yesterday so feel that there is no hope for me. Jack, very perceptive, friend person is indeed an old flame of Mr. W’s though safely hooked up with someone else now…


on 07 May 2004 at 14:26
Comment Modified) There is no such thing as safely and hooked

But I gotta hand it to you Waff, that was a six megaton job you did on the poor girl. Just think about it…
She went away with the jitters AND saying to herself: ‘He preferred her to me… oh. my. god. What must I be like..?’
Aces high… 😉


on 07 May 2004 at 15:55

Funny, funny, Jack. This girl is from Cork (he likes Cork girls) – and as you will be aware, self doubt is unknown to us…


4 May, 2004 at 4:18 pm by belgianwaffle

Had lunch today with my friend the best dressed diplomat.  To my great distress, she is leaving Belgium in August and abandoning me  (on the plus side she needs to shed some of her wardrobe, so this may not be all bad for me).

She has asked me to recommend 12 things for her to do before she leaves.  These are they:

1. Shop on Rue Antoine Dansaert, buy shoes in Suede on Rue de Tongres. Saunter down the Avenue Louise (suspect you will do this more than once).  Shop in the Galeries de la Reine.  Actually buy something in that nice bookshop.

2. Eat in all your favourite restaurants.  Also go to the Belga Queen (because it’s hip and has those strange toilets) and the Ogenblik because it should be one of your favourite restaurants. Save your shillings and go to Comme Chez Soi.  Just the once, because otherwise you will be beggared.

3. Go to Ghent for the day.  Inspect the altarpiece of the Lamb.
4. Go to the Ardennes for the weekend and do the descent of the Lesse in canoe.

5. Attend the 21 July parade and related celebrations.

6. Go to the musee des beaux arts and gaze at the Magrittes and the Flemish primitives and anything else that takes your fancy.

7. Go for a walk around the Etangs d’Ixelles. Go rollerblading in the Bois de la Cambre (I will lend you my rollerblades, if necessary).  Take the tram from Montgomery to Tervuren.  While you’re there have another look round the African Museum.

8. Take the art nouveau tour.

9. Go to mass in Notre Dame au Sablon. Have breakfast in the Pain Quotidien (has to be done). Wander round the expensive antique market and buy an overpriced antique map of Belgium and then head for the Jeu de Balle via rue Haute/rue Blaes.

10. Have a very bizarre beer in that pub across the road from the Saint Gilles maison communale.  Have a standard beer in the Metropole.  Have a drink in the Grand Place.

11. See something in the theatre de la toison d’or.

12. Come round to us for dinner.


on 05 May 2004 at 09:20

Good woman. We know that you are up for this because you have a tattoo (sp?) on your ankle…very cool indeed. Alas, I’m not sure how to spell tattoo.
For your information, this is the description of the pub in Saint Gilles which I mentioned at no. 10.
“MOEDER LAMBIC, rue de Savoie 68, just next to the maison communale of Saint-Gilles. A place, a temple, a spot not like the others. To put in the tierce of the estaminets of the city. Minuscule and hot as a cocotte-minute, full of vibrations and usual customers. More than 1000 ( THOUSAND!) different beers in stock, no comment. It’s quite simple, they serve you “all the Belgian existing beers”, dixit the waiter. Around gross wooden tables, young sympathetic loudmouths you can easily make acquaintance with. An authentic spot, I tell you! Long life to Moeder Lambic!”
English may be a little dodgy but facts are accurate. Come to Belgium and visit..

Who would have thought Code 46 would be so dreadful?

4 May, 2004 at 3:53 pm by belgianwaffle

Just polished off “Running with Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs.  Entertaining description of, frankly horrific, childhood.  Does not, however, entirely live up to the hype.

Last night saw the flic “In this World” absolutely brilliant, but very, very harrowing story of two refugees trying to make their way from Peshawar in Pakistan to London.  Really excellent though director’s social conscience can be a bit trying when he does voice overs.  This is, however, a minor quibble.  You have to get it out on video/DVD.  Suspect this will not be a problem as it is not exactly top of anyone’s list for an evening in (only got it myself because the rom com I wanted was unavailable).  Do see it, it’s fab.


on 13 May 2004 at 13:42

Yes, a bit depressing alright, but still very, very good. You see, I am NOT difficult to please!

Damp and sleepless

3 May, 2004 at 3:07 pm by belgianwaffle

Baby woke up in the middle of the night.  Stumbled in to her bleary eyed clutching bottle. Picked up screaming bundle in the dark.  Removed cap from bottle.  Inserted in baby. Er no, discovered that in my befuddled state in the pitch dark had removed entire top of bottle and had just doused myself and my, by now very annoyed, baby in formula. Alas.


on 04 May 2004 at 22:01

That’ll teach HER to wake YOU up in the middle of the night…


on 05 May 2004 at 09:11

Bluepoppy, you are cruel to mock the afflicted. Jack, you are correct, last night she only woke up once and cried in a half-hearted nervous kind of way.

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